North Carolina men's soccer beats William & Mary, 3-2, with 73rd-minute goal
CARY — After losing the lead midway through the second half, the No. 8 North Carolina men’s soccer team (5-1, 1-0 ACC) scrapped back to a 3-2 win over William & Mary (2-2-2) on Wednesday night at WakeMed Soccer Park.
In the first half, the Tar Heels came out hot. Senior Alan Winn’s first shot of the game connected to put the team up 1-0 just four minutes in.
William & Mary wasn’t far behind. In the 32nd minute, the Tribe answered back with a goal of their own after several unsuccessful attacks in a row that warranted saves from frst year goalie Alec Smir. With the game tied up, redshirt first-year Giovanni Montesdeoca ricocheted a shot into the left corner of the net to command the lead once again headed into halftime.
In the second half, the offense fell cold, the defense fell apart and William and Mary climbed back into it. As the Tar Heels missed several opportunities to close the door, the Tribe were working hard to tie it up. In the 69th minute, they did, and the control North Carolina held all game was slipping out of reach.
With the game on the line and time winding down, Winn came in once again in the 73th minute to close it out. The team held on the rest of the way for its third straight win, despite an ugly defensive performance.
Who stood out?
Winn started and finished the game on Wednesday, leading the team with a relentless thirst to score. As the Tar Heels went on attack throughout the game, he found a way to get in the middle of the action, finishing with two goals on four shots on goal in 79 minutes on the field
Montesdeoca, a Dallas, Tex., native, also stood out. The forward scored his first career collegiate goal to retake the lead at a crucial point in the first half when his team started losing momentum.
When was it decided?
The game was clinched in the 73th minute as the veteran Winn kept the game from slipping away from reach.
After leading for much of the game, UNC broke a tie with Winn's score and held until the end of the game for the win. Winn’s game-winning goal was his third on the season after sitting out the first several games of the year.
Why does it matter?
The North Carolina win in Cary on Wednesday brings the team's record to 5-1 record. It's UNC's third straight win with a big rivalry game looming ahead on Saturday against Duke.
William & Mary also exposed some holes in a defense that’s given up 8 goals in 6 games with no shutouts all season. If nothing else, pulling out a close one will teach the team a few lessons on what to work on in practice as it gets into the ACC-heavy period of the season.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will play again on Saturday night at 7 p.m. as they take on Duke in Browns Summit, N.C.
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